A New Beginning

I began this blog in 2014 with the plan to blog monthly. That didn’t happen. I posted again one time in 2015, still with the same plan. January 2018 is a new beginning. Not that I have been absent from “life” or lazy; I’ve been busy writing!

In 2013 I had joined the Kansas Authors Club to learn to write memoirs. In 2014 I entered a 500-word story in a photo contest at the club, won first place, and the members in attendance all said, “That should be a book.” I took a year to complete and self-publish with the help of my mentor, Esther Luttrell, “Lizzie’s Life Adventures” (the memoir of a retired school bus). For that project, I hired Shirley Bennett of Arkansas City, Kansas, and as illustrator, and she did an amazing job. “Lizzie” was published in 2015, for ages 4-7.

Returning from Ark City in March 2015, I drove for an hour in a sudden winter squall that blew rain and snow horizontally across the highway, and by the time I got home, “What WILL We Do On A Rainy Day” had essentially written itself to me. I got busy and put it on paper, and with the encouragement of my “brain doctor”, Jerree Forbes, EdD, did the illustrations myself. “Rainy Day” was also published on Create Space in the fall of 2016. Again, I had wonderful help with layout and formatting from Linda Duty in Florida, whom I have never yet met, but to whom I will always be grateful for her willing help with my project. Kids 4-7 will enjoy this book.

In early spring 2016, as I sat at the bank window to make a deposit, a red pickup pulled in behind me with a Dalmatian on the front seat. “What a beautiful dog,” I thought, “the spots make him look camouflaged.”  That thought was the beginning of “Camo, the Polka-Dot Pup.” “Camo” is the story of biracial twins, Carly and Cole, who adopt a Dalmatian puppy from Daddy’s firehouse mascot. The twins have questions about how we get our skin color and how puppies get their spots. Because the puppy is partially deaf, they also learn to teach him obedience using sign language. This book will be for 8-10-year-olds.

In 2018, I have several writing projects going. I am writing memoirs for a couple of friends, and I’ve planned two sequels to “Camo, the Polka-Dot Pup.” But 2018 is also the year that I keep up with this blog. I promise, and will ask you, my friends, to hold me to my promise.

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SPRING IS

Spring is creation.

From brown earth and grasses and deadened trees, green blades and buds appear.

Multitudes of bird songs waken.  Squirrels playfully chase in procreative dance.

Spring is resurrection.

From death, new life appears, a cacophony of sound and color.

Yellow daffodils and Forsythia, Red tulips and flowering Quince, and fruit trees bursting forth in billows of white and pink.

Spring is joy.

Children released to run and play outside again, families gathered at the grill, or at the lake.

Reunions of friends too long isolated by winter, long walks and quiet conversations in the warm sunsets.

Spring is worship.

The earth offering all the colors of the rainbow, trees lifting their greenery toward heaven.

A multitude of flower fragrances like incense, the organ roll of thunder, the music of rain.

SPRING IS!

Memories triggered today

I was in church this morning, and our worship leader had chosen as the closing song a real oldie from the ’70s called “For Those Tears I Died”.

You said you’d come and bear all my sorrow

You said you’d be there for all my tomorrows

I came so close to turning You away

But just like you promised, you came there to stay

I just had to pray.

Chorus

And Jesus said, “Come to the water, stand by My side.”

“I know you are thirsty, you won’t be denied.

I felt every tear drop when in darkness you cried,

And I sought to remind you that for those tears I died.”

Jesus, I give You my heart and my soul.

I know that without You, I’d never be whole.

Jesus You’ve opened all the right doors,

And I thank You and praise You

From Earth’s humble shores.

Take me, I’m yours.

Suddenly, as we sang this song, my thoughts went back forty years.   In December, 1973, a troubled young man came into our home and by a work of God, became our son. Terry Hodson was 22 years old, diagnosed with schizophrenia, and had been in and out of psychiatric care for several years.   He already had numerous suicide attempts behind him when God led us to offer him a place in our family.   Terry was eager, most times cheerful, and my children, ages 10 and 7 at that time, loved him.   Early in his stay with us, Terry attempted suicide a few more times. – pills mostly, and then we would take him to the hospital to have his stomach emptied, and he would be determined never to do it again.   We were learning new steps in God at the time, though, and in the spring of 1974, Terry was delivered of numerous demomic spirits that had troubled him for years.   From that time on, he handled life in a new way, and became a mature young man.  He sailed through some troubled times that would have driven him to suicide earlier.  For the first time in his life, he was able to hold a job.   He dated – and when the girlfriend broke the relationship, he handled it well and continued hopeful.

In early October 1974, Terry developed a nosebleed.   He had hemorrhaged seriously during a previous surgery two years earlier, and a sister had hemorrhaged and died after childbirth.  I suspected a genetic bleeding disorder and pled with the doctor to run a battery of coagulation tests on him, but we were treated like “nosey neighbors”, and indeed because he was of age, we had no legal connection to demand action.  Terry had his nose packed in surgery on two separate occasions, and was in the hospital for two weeks, and on October 31, 1974, he went into cardiac arrest and died in the hospital.

Terry’s funeral was held in Asbury Church, Wichita, Kansas on November 2, 1974, and TODAY, 40 years later, November 2, 2014, unknown to the planners of the service, we sang Terry’s “theme song” – the words meant everything to him.   You see, Terry never really understood how much he was loved by people, but he knew that Jesus loved him and had died so that Terry could be with Him in heaven.  That last verse, especially, meant so much to him.  I’m so glad that Terry was with us for ten months that changed all of our lives, and that we know that we will see him again in eternity.